Can't sign in? Forgot your username?
Enter your email address below and we will send you your username
Background: Agricultural workers are exposed to airborne pollutants, including organic and inorganic (mineral) dusts.
Objectives: Lung autopsy specimens from consecutive coroner’s cases of Hispanic males in Fresno County, California, (n = 112) were obtained to determine whether mineral dust exposure in agricultural work leads to pneumoconiosis.
Methods: The left lung was fixed by inflation. We evaluated airway and parenchymal pathology using standardized diagnostic criteria and semiquantitative grading schemata, including the grading of small airways for fibrosis and birefringent mineral dust particles. We analyzed lung dust burden on a subset of 37 lungs following bleach digestion, using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray spectrometry (XRS) and image analysis, and by X-ray diffraction for crystalline silica (CSi). Farmworkers comprised 51.5% and nonfarmworkers 48.5% of the samples.
Results: Proximal airways demonstrated little mineral dust accumulation, but membranous and respiratory bronchioles had wall thickening, remodeling, and inflammation associated with carbonaceous and mineral dust deposition. These changes were independently associated with agricultural work, cigarette smoking, and increased age. Mineral dust small airways disease, pneumoconiosis (macules and nodules), and pathologic changes consistent with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and interstitial fibrosis predominated in farmworkers compared with nonfarmworkers. CSi, determined gravimetrically, and aluminum silicate particles, determined by SEM/XRS, were increased in the lungs of farmworkers compared with nonfarmworkers and were significantly (p < 0.05) associated with small airway disease and pneumoconiosis.
Conclusion: Mineral dust exposure is associated with increased small airway disease and pneumoconiosis among California farmworkers; however, the clinical significance and natural history of these changes remains to be determined.
Background: Farmworkers can be exposed to a wide variety of pesticides. Assessing cholinesterase activity over time can be used to monitor exposure to organophosphorus and carbamate pesticides.
Objectives: The goal of this study was to document patterns and variation in cholinesterase levels across the agricultural season (May–August) among field-workers, and to explore the association of cholinesterase depression with pesticide exposure across the agricultural season.
Methods: Dried blood samples collected from 231 migrant farmworkers sampled from camps in eastern North Carolina up to four times across a summer agricultural season were analyzed for cholinesterase activity, and urine samples were analyzed for metabolites of organophosphorus and carbamate pesticides. Reductions of ≥ 15% from an individual’s highest value were identified and considered evidence of meaningful cholinesterase activity depression.
Results: The average cholinesterase activity levels were lowest in June, with significantly higher mean values in July and August. When adjusted for age, sex, minutes waited to shower, and days worked in the fields, the number of organophosphorus and carbamate pesticides detected in urine predicted reductions in cholinesterase activity.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate that workers are experiencing pesticide exposure. Greater enforcement of existing safety regulations or strengthening of these regulations may be warranted. This study demonstrates that serial measurements of cholinesterase activity across an agricultural season can detect exposure to pesticides among field-workers.
Background: Exposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides, well-known neurotoxicants, has been associated with neurobehavioral deficits in children.
Objectives: We investigated whether OP exposure, as measured by urinary dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites in pregnant women and their children, was associated with attention-related outcomes among Mexican-American children living in an agricultural region of California.
Methods: Children were assessed at ages 3.5 years (n = 331) and 5 years (n = 323). Mothers completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). We administered the NEPSY-II visual attention subtest to children at 3.5 years and Conners’ Kiddie Continuous Performance Test (K-CPT) at 5 years. The K-CPT yielded a standardized attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Confidence Index score. Psychometricians scored behavior of the 5-year-olds during testing using the Hillside Behavior Rating Scale.
Results: Prenatal DAPs (nanomoles per liter) were nonsignificantly associated with maternal report of attention problems and ADHD at age 3.5 years but were significantly related at age 5 years [CBCL attention problems: β = 0.7 points; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.2–1.2; ADHD: β = 1.3; 95% CI, 0.4–2.1]. Prenatal DAPs were associated with scores on the K-CPT ADHD Confidence Index > 70th percentile [odds ratio (OR) = 5.1; 95% CI, 1.7–15.7] and with a composite ADHD indicator of the various measures (OR = 3.5; 95% CI, 1.1–10.7). Some outcomes exhibited evidence of effect modification by sex, with associations found only among boys. There was also limited evidence of associations between child DAPs and attention.
Conclusions: In utero DAPs and, to a lesser extent, postnatal DAPs were associated adversely with attention as assessed by maternal report, psychometrician observation, and direct assessment. These associations were somewhat stronger at 5 years than at 3.5 years and were stronger in boys.
Background: Paraoxonase 1 (PON1) detoxifies oxon derivatives of some organophosphate (OP) pesticides, and its genetic polymorphisms influence enzyme activity and quantity. We previously reported that maternal urinary concentrations of dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites, a marker of OP pesticide exposure, were related to poorer mental development and maternally reported symptoms consistent with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) in 2-year-olds participating in the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) study.
Objective: We determined whether PON1 genotypes and enzyme measurements were associated with child neurobehavioral development and whether PON1 modified the association of in utero exposure to OPs (as assessed by maternal DAPs) and neurobehavior.
Methods: We measured DAP concentrations in maternal urine during pregnancy, PON1192 and PON1−108 genotypes in mothers and children, and arylesterase (ARYase) and paraoxonase (POase) in maternal, cord, and 2-year-olds’ blood. We assessed 353 2-year-olds on the Mental Development Index (MDI) and Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development and queried their mothers on the Child Behavior Checklist to obtain a score for PDD.
Results: Children with the PON1−108T allele had poorer MDI scores and somewhat poorer PDI scores. Children were less likely to display PDD when they or their mothers had higher ARYase activity and when their mothers had higher POase activity. The association between DAPs and MDI scores was strongest in children with PON1−108T allele, but this and other interactions between DAPs and PON1 polymorphisms or enzymes were not significant.
Conclusion: PON1 was associated with child neurobehavioral development, but additional research is needed to confirm whether it modifies the relation with in utero OP exposure.
Context: Organophosphate (OP) pesticides are neurotoxic at high doses. Few studies have examined whether chronic exposure at lower levels could adversely affect children’s cognitive development.
Objective: We examined associations between prenatal and postnatal exposure to OP pesticides and cognitive abilities in school-age children.
Methods: We conducted a birth cohort study (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas study) among predominantly Latino farmworker families from an agricultural community in California. We assessed exposure to OP pesticides by measuring dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites in urine collected during pregnancy and from children at 6 months and 1, 2, 3.5, and 5 years of age. We administered the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th edition, to 329 children 7 years of age. Analyses were adjusted for maternal education and intelligence, Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment score, and language of cognitive assessment.
Results: Urinary DAP concentrations measured during the first and second half of pregnancy had similar relations to cognitive scores, so we used the average of concentrations measured during pregnancy in further analyses. Averaged maternal DAP concentrations were associated with poorer scores for Working Memory, Processing Speed, Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, and Full-Scale intelligence quotient (IQ). Children in the highest quintile of maternal DAP concentrations had an average deficit of 7.0 IQ points compared with those in the lowest quintile. However, children’s urinary DAP concentrations were not consistently associated with cognitive scores.
Conclusions: Prenatal but not postnatal urinary DAP concentrations were associated with poorer intellectual development in 7-year-old children. Maternal urinary DAP concentrations in the present study were higher but nonetheless within the range of levels measured in the general U.S. population.
Although biomonitoring has been used in many occupational and environmental health and exposure studies, we are only beginning to understand the complexities and uncertainties involved with the biomonitoring process—from study design, to sample collection, to chemical analysis—and with interpreting the resulting data. We present an overview of concepts that should be considered when using biomonitoring or biomonitoring data, assess the current status of biomonitoring, and detail potential advancements in the field that may improve our ability to both collect and interpret biomonitoring data. We discuss issues such as the appropriateness of biomonitoring for a given study, the sampling time frame, temporal variability in biological measurements to nonpersistent chemicals, and the complex issues surrounding data interpretation. In addition, we provide recommendations to improve the utility of biomonitoring in farmworker studies.
The exposure of migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families to agricultural and residential pesticides is a continuing public health concern. Pesticide exposure research has been spurred on by the development of sensitive and reliable laboratory techniques that allow the detection of minute amounts of pesticides or pesticide metabolites. The power of research on farmworker pesticide exposure has been limited because of variability in the collection of exposure data, the predictors of exposure considered, the laboratory procedures used in analyzing the exposure, and the measurement of exposure. The Farmworker Pesticide Exposure Comparable Data Conference assembled 25 scientists from diverse disciplinary and organizational backgrounds to develop methodologic consensus in four areas of farmworker pesticide exposure research: environmental exposure assessment, biomarkers, personal and occupational predictors of exposure, and health outcomes of exposure. In this introduction to this mini-monograph, first, we present the rationale for the conference and its organization. Second, we discuss some of the important challenges in conducting farmworker pesticide research, including the definition and size of the farmworker population, problems in communication and access, and the organization of agricultural work. Third, we summarize major findings from each of the conference’s four foci—environmental exposure assessment, biomonitoring, predictors of exposure, and health outcomes of exposure—as well as important laboratory and statistical analysis issues that cross-cut the four foci.
Background: Organophosphate (OP) pesticides are widely used in agriculture and homes. Animal studies suggest that even moderate doses are neurodevelopmental toxicants, but there are few studies in humans.
Objectives: We investigated the relationship of prenatal and child OP urinary metabolite levels with children’s neurodevelopment.
Methods: Participating children were from a longitudinal birth cohort of primarily Latino farm-worker families in California. We measured six nonspecific dialkylphosphate (DAP) metabolites in maternal and child urine as well as metabolites specific to malathion (MDA) and chlorpyrifos (TCPy) in maternal urine. We examined their association with children’s performance at 6 (n = 396), 12 (n = 395), and 24 (n = 372) months of age on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development [Mental Development (MDI) and Psychomotor Development (PDI) Indices] and mother’s report on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) (n = 356).
Results: Generally, pregnancy DAP levels were negatively associated with MDI, but child measures were positively associated. At 24 months of age, these associations reached statistical significance [per 10-fold increase in prenatal DAPs: β = −3.5 points; 95% confidence interval (CI), −6.6 to −0.5; child DAPs: β = 2.4 points; 95% CI, 0.5 to 4.2]. Neither prenatal nor child DAPs were associated with PDI or CBCL attention problems, but both prenatal and postnatal DAPs were associated with risk of pervasive developmental disorder [per 10-fold increase in prenatal DAPs: odds ratio (OR) = 2.3, p = 0.05; child DAPs OR = 1.7, p = 0.04]. MDA and TCPy were not associated with any outcome.
Conclusions: We report adverse associations of prenatal DAPs with mental development and pervasive developmental problems at 24 months of age. Results should be interpreted with caution given the observed positive relationship with postnatal DAPs.
Background: In this investigation we documented the pesticide urinary metabolite levels of farmworker children in North Carolina, determined the number of different metabolites detected for each child, and delineated risk factors associated with the number of metabolites.
Methods: Urine samples were collected from 60 Latino farmworker children 1–6 years of age (34 female, 26 male). Interviews were completed by their mothers in Spanish. We analyzed urine samples for 14 pesticide metabolites, including the organophosphate pesticides chlorpyrifos, coumaphos, diazinon, isazaphos, malathion, pirimiphos, and parathion and its methyl counterpart; a common metabolite of at least 18 pyrethroid insecticides; the repellent DEET; and the herbicides 2,4,5-trichlorphenoxyacetic acid, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, acetochlor, atrazine, and metolachlor. Predictors included measures of paraoccupational, residential, and environmental exposure, child characteristics, and mother characteristics.
Results: Thirteen metabolites were present in the urine samples. Organophosphate pesticide metabolites were detected in a substantial proportion of children, particularly metabolites of parathion/methyl parathion (90.0%; geometric mean 1.00 μg/L), chlorpyrifos/chlorpyrifos methyl (83.3%; geometric mean 1.92 μg/L), and diazinon (55.0%; geometric mean 10.56 μg/L). The number of metabolites detected ranged from 0 to 7, with a mode of 4 detected (28.3%). Boys, children living in rented housing, and children with mothers working part-time had more metabolites detected.
Conclusions: Children in farmworker homes experience multiple sources of pesticide exposure. Pesticides may remain in their environments for long periods. Environmental and occupational health changes are needed to address these exposures. Research is needed with more precise measures of exposure and on the health effects of concurrent exposure to multiple pesticides.